Where are They Now?
TSRI Alumna Janet Gunzner

Graduating Class: '99

Lab at TSRI: Ph.D. work in the Nicolaou lab, Department of Chemistry. Also, work as an undergraduate in the Ghadiri and Boger labs, also in the Department of Chemistry.

Dissertation Title: "Total Synthesis of Brevetoxin A and Synthetic Progress Towards Maitotoxin."

Experience at TSRI: "Working on the brevetoxin synthesis, an 11 or 12 year endeavor for the Nicolaou lab, was a great experience. I had the opportunity to work on all steps of the synthesis from beginning to end and was part of the team that finished the project."

"The facilities were great at TSRI. Also, the opportunity to frequently interact with professors at TSRI and visiting professors was a definite bonus of the relatively small sized graduate department. From this exposure, I learned not only how science is done but to understand the whole process—the grants, recruiting, publishing, lecturing..."

Her Advisor Recalls: Department of Chemistry Chair K.C. Nicolau, Gunzner's thesis advisor, recalls, "Janet was tenacious and fearless in the lab. She tackled some of the most complex molecular structures known to man and came out a winner. She was also quite active socially, so that when she left we all missed her. She was exemplary in many ways."

Undergraduate Institution: Reed College.

Postdoctoral Work: Research with Stanford University with Professor Barry Trost on "Total Synthesis of Deschlorocallipeltoside A."

Current Position: Started as Senior Research Chemist at Merck Research Laboratories in La Jolla six months ago. "At Merck, I have ample resources and intelligent colleagues. Merck also has one of the best records for developing safe drugs. I feel I am learning from the best."

Research Focus: Developing new drugs for neuroscience targets to treat such conditions as Alzheimer's disease and anxiety.

Plans for the Future: A career in industry.

Extracurriculars: Rock climbing, yoga, downhill skiing, traveling, swimming, theater.





Go back to News & Views Index

Janet Gunzner, now senior research chemist at Merck Research Laboratories, says her graduate work at TSRI with Department of Chemistry Chair K.C. Nicolaou was "a great experience."